Kyle Langford booked his place at the World Junior Championships next month and the 800m runner has an ominous warning for his opponents: “I know I can improve and get better”.
The 18-year-old athlete, from Garston, claimed his first national title at the weekend as he took victory in 1.51.00 at the England Athletics Under-20 and Under-23 Championships in Bedford.
That sealed his place at the World Championships, which will be staged in Oregon, USA, and begin on July 22.
Langford is looking forward to testing himself on the world stage and is hoping for another place on the podium.
He said: “My goal at the start of this year was to make it to the World Junior Championships and I am very happy that I have been able to do that.
“Once you know you’ve got your place at the Championships then you can start to prepare for them during training so you’re at your peak.
“I know I need to improve before I go out there but I know I can improve and get better. If I can do that then hopefully I can do well and get a medal.”
Langford, who is a member at Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers and is coached by George Harrison, said he is delighted to have won a national title and added: “It is something that I have wanted for a while so I am very happy to get one. It’s a title that I will always remember winning and that is a really great feeling.
“I’ve never run a race like I did at the weekend. I usually stick in lane one but I decided that I would hang in between lane two and three on the shoulders of the leaders.
“With about 300m remaining I realised they were getting tired and then when I went with about 100m to go, I knew I had won.”
He continued: “I’m now looking forward to going to America. I love the whole experience and really enjoy the travelling. I’ve done a few trips now and am very used to it. We’re heading out a week early to acclimatise before the competition and hopefully that will help.
“I have relied a lot on my natural ability but training has definitely helped unlock that as well.”
Langford’s rise to prominence is a testament to that natural ability. He has only been competing in athletics since 2011 but has his sights firmly set on representing the United Kingdom at the next Olympic Games.
He said: “Rio has always been the target for me and my coach. It is something that you don’t really think about, but going to the Junior Championships and performing well does make you believe that it’s possible.
“So it remains my dream and I’d love to compete at an Olympics. But I know that there is still a very long way for me to go before I get there.”